An avid bicyclist from Attleboro recently died after crashing his bike in Rohoboth. The accident has brought to light a possible product defect which could potentially lead to a future product liability case in the death of the 58-year-old man.
According to reports, the father of three was found by a police officer who was on his way to work just before 6 p.m. The man's wife told police he was training for a 150-mile charity bike ride, in which he had participated for the past 14 years.
Police are citing a mechanical issue with the bicycle's fork as the possible cause of the crash, although the fatal crash is still under investigation. Police say it doesn't appear any other vehicles were involved in the incident. Authorities say the fork on the bike detached from the bicycle.
When the officer found the man, he was wearing a helmet but had suffered head trauma. The biker was said to be moving at about 25 mph, which is reportedly a normal speed for an experienced bicyclist in training.
When a news organization tried to reach the bicycle company, called Cervelo, via their website, they noticed that the fork unit on the Soloist model bikes was the subject of a recall. That is the same model the man was riding at the time of the accident.
Although the company only manufactures the frame, a separate company out of Tennessee actually designs and makes the fork component. According to a statement from Cervelo, "Under certain conditions, the fork steerer can crack and eventually break during normal use, which may cause the rider to lose control, fall and suffer potentially serious injuries."
Defective products cause thousands of injuries in the United States each year. Manufacturers have a duty to make products that are safe. State and federal laws provide that anyone injured through the use of a defective product can seek compensation for their injuries. In this case, the family of the man may choose to seek compensation in order to cover funeral costs, lost wages, and for pain and suffering.
Source: Taunton Daily Gazette, "Cops: Bike defect likely caused fatal Rehoboth crash," Marc Larocque, April 11, 2012